Highlighting Breast Cancer Disparities Among Women of Color

In part one of CURE’s “Breaking Barriers: Addressing Women of Color Underrepresentation in Clinical Trials” webinar, Ricki Fairley, CEO of TOUCH, The Black Breast Cancer Alliance; Hayley Brown, director of partnerships and programs at TOUCH, The Black Breast Cancer Alliance; and Michelle Anderson-Benjamin, CEO and founder of The Fearless Warrior Organization, discussed the differences that women of color experience throughout their breast cancer journey, highlighting the need for more diversity in the representation of the disease.


00:04 – Breast cancer disparities in women of color.

  • The panelists discussed prognosis and mortality differences in Black patients with breast cancer.

01:05 – Racial disparities in breast cancer mortality rates.

  • According to Ricki Fairley, Black women have higher mortality rates and breast cancer recurrence rates compared with White women with the disease, with a 41% higher mortality rate and a 39% higher recurrence rate.

01:58 – The experiences of Black patients with breast cancer and underrepresentation in research.

  • The panel urged Black women, either actively in treatment or in survivorship, to advocate for more inclusive research to address these disparities and increase representation in medical discussions surrounding treatment and more within breast cancer.

02:51 – Personal account of disparities among women of color with breast cancer.

  • Michelle Anderson-Benjamin recalled a conversation with her plastic surgeon about the lack of representation of Black women in medical resources and the importance of seeing realistic results for patients of color.
  • For example, her physician showed her slides as examples of reconstructive surgery; however, they were only inclusive of White women who underwent the procedure.
  • In addition, Anderson-Benjamin shared her personal experience with radiation therapy and the unique side effects she experienced, such as her skin turning black instead of red, to highlight the need for more diverse medical resources and representation.

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